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PIA Press Release

4Ps, other major gov't programs spell better, healthier lives for Aklanons

by Venus G. Villanueva

Kalibo, Aklan (22 January) -- Aklan's poor families now have a chance to have better - and healthier lives because of 4Ps.

4Ps means Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program, a poverty reduction strategy that provides grants to extremely poor households to improve their health, nutrition and education particularly of children aged 0-14 years old.

This is a developmental program that invests in human capital. It enhances the role of parents and helps them accomplish their duties and responsibilities to their children,

In Aklan, residents of two far-flung, hinterland municipalities are currently benefiting from this program.

These two municipalities are Libacao and Madalag.

Libacao is a 4th class interior municipality located 29 kilometers southwest of the capital town of Kalibo with 24 barangays now accessible by transportation except for the remaining 2 which could only be reached by foot. Madalag is also a 4th class municipality, approximately 29 kilometers from Kalibo, with 25 barangays.

As an identified 4Ps beneficiary, a household can receive as much as P1,400 for a maximum of three children that includes P500.00 per month for nutrition and health expenses and P300 per month per child with a maximum of three children per household for educational expenses.

A total of 4,150 households in Aklan coming from the two municipalities are now benefiting from this program.

Based on records provided by the Department of Socail Welfare and Development Field Office 6, a total of P13,375,200.00 had been released to beneficiaries as of November 2009.

The cash grants are released to the beneficiaries in batches. The second batch release was even witnessed by President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, who had her first-even Presidential Visit to Libacao for the event on August 7, 2009.

Libacaonons and Madalagnons have five years to enjoy the program. Meanwhile, surveys for inclusion in the program are still being conducted by the government in other municipalities, so other poor and needy constituents in Aklan could also live better and healthier, especially the children.

As one beneficiary - a mother, puts it during President Arroyo's visit to Libacao - "the 4Ps is a big help to my family. I have 5 children at 29 with the youngest just 3 - weeks old, and a husband with no permanent job."

Juvy Agustin, the mother, has to make sure however that her school-age children regularly go to school, or the cash benefits for them will be stopped. If she gets pregnant, she must receive pre and post natal care and be attended during childbirth by a skilled professional, and must also attend responsible parenthood seminars and mother's classes.

The 4Ps is just one of the programs of the government that has made the lives of Aklanons and the Filipinos in general better, this program being implemented in all parts of the country.

Besides the 4Ps, the government has also provided Day Care and Grade 1 pupils a kilo of rice daily under the Food For School Program, with some 11.5 million beneficiaries from 2004 to 2009. The program serves as an incentive for children to stay in school.

Meanwhile as of December 31, 2009, 99.39% of barangays nationwide had been electrified, resulting to better quality of life and progress.

Waterless municipalities had been provided with water, covering some 319 municipalities. On the other hand, beneficiaries under the Kalahi-Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services reached 5, 555 as of June 2009, benefiting 1.14 households. This program brought social development through community projects, empowering poor communities.

In education, there is already a 1:1 ratio in textbooks for Elementary pupils for English and Sibika subjects while high school books like English, Math and Science have a ratio of 1:1. Teachers, on the other hand, now enjoy a monthly salary of P14,198.00 upon entering the service, compared with P9,939.00 monthly salary nine years ago.

For school year 2008-2009, Educational Contract grantees numbered 508,808 while beneficiaries under GASTPE educational voucher system as of December 2009 reached 513,971, providing a better access to secondary education.

Nationwide, there are 323,684 classrooms, with 100,000 new classrooms built under President Arroyo's term. Adequate classrooms provide a better learning environment.

There are now a total of 81.64 million Philhealth members compared with 29.6 million in 2000, ensuring a bigger number of Filipinos to avail quality healthcare. To make affordable medicines accessible to Filipinos, there are now 15,000 outlets of Botika ng Barangay (BnB) scattered in all parts of the country.

In Aklan, most barangays have BnBs. Too, most municipalities are recipients of the CIDSS program and the Food-For-School. Most Aklanons are Philhealth members and beneficiaries, with the provincial government under Governor Carlito Marquez aiming for universal coverage under the program. Private schools in Aklan are also offering Education Service Contracting for high school students; teachers are enjoying better salaries today. All these are seen as a means to ensure better quality of life for every Filipino and every Aklanon. (PIA) [top]

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